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Pine Cone and Clay Bear

These animal sculptures are made from pine cones you can find in your own backyard.

Project by Margaret Angelo from Saugus, Calif.

When Peggy Angelo was invited to attend a Renaissance-themed wedding, she didn’t realize she would end up creating a hand-sculpted jester stick to match her husband’s costume. That led to her specialty--animal jester sticks. Now she has taken her love of making animal sculptures to new heights by making clever little animal figurines with the pine cones from her backyard.


pine cones
self-hardening terra cotta clay
small black beads
acorn or small present
hot glue gun
hot glue sticks
wood finish


1. Strip pine cone scales off pine cone. Choose arms, legs, face, ears and tail pieces.

2. Cut down ears, tail, face and cut just enough of the arms and legs to get frayed part off so they go into clay easier.

3. Find two pieces for the face by putting the two scales together with points going outwards--you will see the nose and chin. See if you can make a smile or a cute expression.

4. Press the tips on a hard surface just to knock sharp points off so no one gets stabbed!

5. Sculpt body and head; add scales to create bear by making arms come forward. Spread out just enough to hold object of choice.

6. Add legs at the bottom in a straight-out position to look like it's sitting.

7. Add face, ears, tail and bead eyes, pressing the clay to smooth out with paintbrush as you go. Clean off with wet cotton swab.

8. Scribe facial features, eyebrows or lashes to suit. Let dry thoroughly.

9. Paint with a dark brown stain or acrylic paint of choice. Let dry. Spray a clear sealer if desired. Let dry.

10. Glue package or object of choice in arms and tie bow around neck.



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